Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Word is Worth a Thousand Notes

Work has been continuously chugging along on Alice Unraveled for the past week or so. It appears I found my muse in an in-progress cover of "Cannibal" by Ke$ha. Sometimes all it takes is the realization that you had the first chord of the chorus confused to spark ALL of your work to completion. The latest arrangement brought to the party borrows heavily from Phil Spector produced groups, namely The Rhonettes and is my take on that 60s girl-pop sound. It's somewhat hard to convey with my sample set, but hopefully the idea gets across well. James Perrella was kind enough to quick-mix it, and it's not indicative of his actual mixing prowess at all. But he's a much better mixer than I, so even a couple of hours put into it equals days of me trying to mix it. Lots of problems with this rendition, but hey, it's a first draft. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
Who Are You? by Michael Hart

And as always, pimp my music out!

Really, though, I wanted to share an insight with you that happened upon me just last night. All throughout my life, and musical career, I never put much value into lyrics. If they were good or bad, sure, I'd take notice and be able to determine if they were good or bad. But it wouldn't affect my interest in the song at all. It's played a small part in how my music has turned out (hey, there's no lyrics in film scores; I'm an awful lyricist), and when asked to do arrangements I'd keep them in mind but ultimately not pay too terribly much attention to them.

Kelly Izzo and I hit a few mishaps during this whole process of arranging for Alice Unraveled, where she approaches things from a very simple, very minimalist point of view and I... well, do not. I love my bombast. I was re-listening to the demo tracks last night to try and get arrangement ideas and I hit the title track of the musical. Which, if you haven't heard it, is absolutely phenomenal. So I was listening, blah de blah, it finished, I had an idea when something changed. Something resonated in my head.

"Something was lost, when I couldn't see/with the lights turned off".

I don't know why it struck such a chord, but I listened to the song again. And really listened to the words this time. By the end of the song I was shaking. It finally all fell into perspective; here's a musical about a girl who's thrown into an awful situation by herself and lays her heart out for the whole world to see, only to have no one care. It was an incredibly moving moment.

Again I go back to this point I've made before, but this time with a new perspective: for all of our mass produced, synthesized, hugely arranged pop, electronica, anything with a club kick... does it matter what they say? Hell, even singer-songwriters do it too, drowning the message in washes of guitar layers and strings. Far too many are concerned with a pristine sounding record, how loud it gets, how deep the bass is, whether or not it'll move a million units.

Valid points? Sure.

The only points? Fuck that.

Sometimes it only takes a girl with a guitar, recording into a Macbook camera mic, to make you realize how vulnerable you really are.

I'm still in awe.